Water charge exemption scheme for small Scottish charities to be extended

Scottish Government says they will pay no water charges until 2015

A scheme exempting small charities and voluntary organisations in Scotland from water charges will continue until at least 2015, the Scottish Government has announced.

Scottish finance minister John Swinney said that the annual income limit for charities to be exempt would be increased from £50,000 to £60,000 from 1 April next year. The income ceiling would go up by £1,500 in each subsequent year, he said.

Charities that move premises would no longer need to reapply for their exemption, providing they still met the exemption criteria, he said.

"In the current economic climate, it is especially important that we support the voluntary sector's ability to help increase sustainable economic growth," said Swinney.

The exemptions were first brought in after the creation of Scottish Water in 2002, and were initially for four years to help organisations prepare to pay for their water services.

The most recent extension comes after a consultation by the Scottish Government, which found broad support for the continued exemption.

Charities in England have been campaigning against the controversial ‘rain tax'.

Environment secretary Hilary Benn last month announced legislation allowing water companies to run run concessionary schemes to enable small charities and voluntary groups to avoid large increases in charges for surface water drainage.

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